Tears and a sense of loss were all that was left yesterday as the doors were shut on Waves health clinic.
Staff and regular users of the youth health service came together one last time yesterday to bid farewell to a family that has been built up in the last eight years.
Waves nurse practitioner and former chairwoman Louise Roebuck has been made redundant. She hopes that as one door closes, another will open for her and the youth who will desperately miss the service.
"Some of these young people really don't know where they'll go because they're either on the benefit or aren't even entitled to the benefit," she said.
"Only 20 per cent will be able to afford to pay for a clinic and the rest are going to end up in the emergency department or somewhere worse."
Ms Roebuck says for eight years she has lived and breathed Waves.
"This is my passion and expertise, it's what I do," she said.
"It's just devastating to see it close and there has been lots of tears over the week."
Ms Roebuck describes the one-stop shop as an "urban marae for young people".
"Sometimes people just call in for a chat, not for anything specific, I guess it's similar to a conversation you might have with your mother," she said.
"There was a lot of anger at the beginning from the young people but we spoke to them about that and told them it wasn't a useful emotion.
"Instead we said to get out into the community and use their voice to try and help get Waves back one day," she said.
The clinic has international accreditation as a health service for following best practice for youth, health and development.
Ms Roebuck says she is not angry but disappointed that Waves meets government requirements yet cannot secure government funding.
"Our board and management have tried their best and they couldn't have done any better."
Although she plans to continue to volunteer for an hour each day until her patients have all been referred, she might look for work in Australia.
"I'd love to see Waves return and I would certainly be lining up for work," she said.
Waves is in talks with Taranaki Primary Health Organisation Tui Ora about funding of $35,000 a month - the amount needed to keep the free youth health and medical arm open.
Meanwhile Ms Roebuck says she and her colleague, Chris Nganeko, have bought a Lotto ticket and one regular Waves user has written a letter to American billionaire Donald Trump asking for money.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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